Our Built Environment And Physical Activity


Minnesotans want their communities designed to help people be more active

Recently BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health released a report, Physical Activity and Healthy Eating in Minnesota: Addressing Root Causes of Obesity, which “concludes that Minnesotans know they need to lose weight and many are trying, but individual attitudes and their surroundings are barriers to their success.”

No surprises here.  I resemble the 60% of Minnesotans overweight or obese, and the 1/3 that don’t meet the CDC’s recommendation for weekly physical activity.  I (like many others) tend to gloss over the implications of that.  “…medical costs for obese individuals are 42 percent higher than medical costs for normal weight individuals.”  The report is based on findings from the 2007 Minnesota Physical Activity Survey and 2008 Minnesota Healthy Eating Survey.

This item, however, is interesting for building places people care about:

Among the report’s key findings: Most Minnesotans want their communities designed to help people be more active. Nearly all adults (90 percent) believe that how a community is built has a big effect on how much physical activity individuals get, yet less than one-third live in neighborhoods or communities with features that encourage physical activity. In addition, 93 percent believe future transportation projects should consider walkers and bicyclers as well as motor vehicles and 72 percent agree laws should require communities to build sidewalks and bike paths.

The report’s recommendations for responding with a comprehensive approach include:

  • Develop social support for physical activity, such as walking clubs, in community and worksite settings.
  • Conduct media campaigns promoting everyday activities such as taking the stairs or walking longer distances.
  • Create work environments that encourage exercise through promotion, incentives, and places to be active.
  • Enhance communities’ physical environments for active transportation through urban design policies.

Click here for the complete news release with link to executive summary.

As we know, the Active Living choice isn’t always the easy choice.  And I won’t go into the irony of my taking time away from my lunch hour to post this when I would have otherwise been walking….


This entry was posted in Policy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.